The Bulldogs (2-1) are in New York City for the 2K Classic and will play No. 19 Texas A&M (2-0) today in Madison Square Garden (6 p.m., ESPN2). They’ll play either No. 15 Arizona or St. John’s on Friday.
Sidney, the 6-foot-10 junior center, is expected to play tonight after missing State’s last game with a groin injury, according to coach Rick Stansbury. A lot of folks will be watching, and questions still linger about his conditioning and effectiveness.
In two games Sidney has modest averages: 10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds .
“The problem has been getting him into condition to play the number of minutes we need him to play or to play the minutes he is in there and be efficient,” Stansbury said. “Again, it is better than it was, but we’ve got to continue to make progress.”
After a loss to Akron on Nov. 9, MSU was a more cohesive team in Saturday’s 80-65 win over South Alabama as Sidney watched from the bench. That led to speculation that perhaps the Bulldogs run more smoothly without him.
Stansbury won’t go that far, but he does concede that MSU is a different team when he’s not out there, citing more overall quickness.
How the Bulldogs wind up looking with Sidney on the floor could depend on the mental aspect as much as anything else. The Akron loss has had a lingering effect – a good effect, according to point guard Dee Bost.
“We wanted to be 3-0 going into (New York), but I think that loss kind of helped us against Akron,” he said. “Some teams need a loss to get them back right, and I think that loss helped us, so we’re going with a different mindset into New York.”